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Accepted Paper:

Technologies of hope, devices of anxiety: Mediating the present and the future of transnationally mobile early career researchers  


Ieva Puzo (Riga Stradins University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the ways in which technologies - broadly understood - mediate the experience of the present and imaginings of the future among transnationally mobile early career researchers in two research contexts: Japan and Latvia.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past few decades, science policy makers and research institutions around the world have embraced the rhetoric of research excellence, with the transnational mobility of research workers as a major component of this drive towards excellence. Recent scholarship, however, has brought attention to the increasing precarity of academic knowledge workers, with the current patterns of research mobility emerging as one of the facets of the inequalities, insecurities and uncertainties embedded in the contemporary knowledge regimes across the globe.

My paper, in conversation with this literature, examines the ways engagement with technologies - broadly understood - engenders particular imaginings of (im)mobile futures among early career researchers. In the paper, I discuss the ethnographic data collected in the Kansai region of Japan in 2012-1014 and in Riga, the capital city of Latvia, in 2020. In both locations, my research participants are foreign researchers working for the academic institutions of both countries. Despite the different research settings, my paper aims to highlight the multitude of ways technologies - from research equipment to media technologies, to the passports researchers are holding - mediate early career scholars' understandings of their present and (dis)allow for specific dreams in the future. My paper thus brings to the fore

the seemingly mundane yet profound ways in which the young researchers' anxieties and hopes, engendered by contemporary knowledge regimes, are enabled, mediated and made visible through a plethora of devices, tools and gadgets.

Panel P063
Everyday mobilities and circulation of people, things and ideas: Expanding the concept of technology from what makes us mobile [ANTHROMOB]